Prevalence and incidence of foodborne illness in developing countries has risen in recent times as a result of increased demand for Ready-To- Eat (RTE) foods. The current study assessed the microbiological quality of khebab sold at selected areas within the Kumasi metropolis. A total of 36 khebab samples were purchased and analyzed for Total Viable Count (TVC), Total Coliforms Count (TCC) and Thermotolerant Coliforms Count (TTC). The results showed that the mean TVC, TCC and TTC in beef khebab at the different locations ranged from 6.91- 7.23 Log10 CFU/g, 7.25-9.23 Log10 MPN/g and 4.97-7.75 Log10 MPN/g respectively. For chevon khebab, it ranged from 6.83-7.25 Log10 CFU/g, 7.98 - 9.23 Log10 MPN/g and 6.61-8.81 Log10 MPN/g respectively. That of gizzard khebab ranged from 6.89-7.30 Log10 CFU/g, 7.98-9.23 Log10 MPN/g and 6.89-7.53 Log10 MPN/g respectively. The mean TVC, TCC and TTC for the beef khebab were not significant (p = 0.680, 0.055 and 0.070) respectively. For the chevon, the TVC and TCC were not significant (p = 0.547 and 0.121) respectively but that of the TTC was significant (p = 0.034). The mean TVC, TCC and TTC of the gizzard were not significant (p = 0.794, 0.056 and 0.822) respectively at the different locations. These mean microbial loads (TVC, TCC and TTC) in the khebab samples exceeded the standard acceptable limits (? 5 Log CFU/g and ? 2 Log10 MPN/g). Since the microbial loads exceeded the standard acceptable limits, it could put consumers at high risk of contracting foodborne infection. This result should prompt the relevant institutions responsible for ensuring food safety in the metropolis to strictly enforce the standard regulations on food safety practices as well as carry out adequate monitoring to avoid possible foodborne infections.
Key words: Khebabs, total viable count, total coliforms count, thermotolerant coliforms count.
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